New Jersey recently passed a law allowing carriers to negotiate municpal video franchise agreements at the state level. This removes the uncertainty involved with multiple negotiations with multiple municipalities demanding multiple perks.
I witnessed the process first-hand by attending a local municpal hearing in MA for Verizon (VZ) FiOS TV service (see Blogging a FiOS TV Franchise Meeting). It is a pathetic process designed to extort tribute from companies while delaying the advent of competition for consumers.
It looks like municipalitites in New Hampshire will now reap what they sow.
From the Portsmouth Herald:
Jill Wurm (Verizon spokeperson) said this week that the company has sent equipment and franchise negotiators intended for New Hampshire to New Jersey, where a single franchise agreement can be negotiated at the state level.
Verizon would have to negotiate with each of the 23 New Hampshire communities in which it has installed fiber optic cable and pay them a franchise fee.
“So, since that’s the mode of operation in New Hampshire, everything … got reallocated,” Wurm said.
… and citizens of those 23 towns will lack effective cable competition in the meantime.